Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Shorts and 'Skins (August 3)

With the preseason opener against the Redskins just a day away, the Bucs finally took off the pads for practice on Thursday

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Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs Coach Herm Edwards gets down to specifics with the team's secondary

Just call it the Casual Day of Buccaneer football.

On Thursday, the Bucs' dress of choice was shorts with no pads, after a dozen practices in either full pads or shells over the previous ten days. Though the work was just as serious on Thursday, the mood seemed to lighten up with a game so close on the horizon.

"It seems like whenever we don't have pads on, they're a little happier," said Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy. "I think they're looking forward to the end of the week, getting a little rest and having some time off tonight. They've worked pretty hard."

It's a measure of the strict schedule of training camp that 'some time off' means little more than a few hours. The Bucs will eschew their usual schedule of early-evening meetings on Thursday but will be back in camp at 9:00 p.m. for some organizational work. The real day off won't come until Saturday, after Friday's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.

And so the Bucs toiled on this morning, focusing on the sorts of specific situations that a game will bring up, such as goal-line work and short third downs. The installation of the offense has reached critical mass, and the team is now looking to soften up the rough edges. Tight end Dave Moore is looking forward to Friday's game as a test of what the team has learned since opening camp on July 23.

"We need to get out there," he said. "We need to be efficient. We need to be in and out of the huddle. We need to be sharp. It's really a good opportunity for us to see where we stand in our learning process in this offense. Our goal is to go out and just look sharp, move the ball efficiently, get first downs and march down the field."

The Bucs have been working on special situations for several days, including two-minute drills, onside kicks and two-point attempts. Moore thinks that focused work will provide results on Friday.

"In the last few days, we've actually made some real good strides. We've finished installing and now we're going back over things in more detail, making adjustments versus certain looks and getting into more game-plan situations. We're refining it down and really trying to be sharp in what we're doing."

The Bucs have one more practice before Friday's game, a 75-minute workout on Thursday afternoon in which they will once again cull the game down to specific situations.

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